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It’s the Difference that Sets the World Free

“What This World Needs” by Casting Crowns

“What this world needs

Is a savior who will rescue,

A spirit who will lead,

A father who will love them

In their time of need.

What this world needs

Is for us to stop hiding behind our relevance,

Blending in so well that people can’t see the difference,

And it’s the difference that sets the world free.”

I always loved that last line, probably because it – in nine words – concisely sums up a big error in my long-held philosophy to approaching the world. I, until within the last ten or so months, thought that approaching the world in a way that said “Hey, look at me. I’m a Christian, but I’m normal. I like similar things as you, and I’m not some crazy radical or freak or extremist” was the best method of operation. This way I could (theoretically) ease others into Christianity. I saw no need, and in fact it seemed quite impractical, to entirely contradict the standards of living of others and expect them to willingly and openly listen to what I had to say.

Reading this now, there are so many errors in logic present that I just want to sigh and shake my head. Dressing like the world (to a certain extent), listening to the music of the world (to a certain extent), speaking like the world, relating to and interacting with others in the ways of the world, these are all habits I adopted.

I cowardly adopted the I-share-Christ-through-the-way-I-live-my-life method of testimony, rather than ever thinking twice about verbally, explicitly witnessing to others. However, there was nothing different about the way I lived my life versus the way others lived their lives. So how exactly did I think I was sharing Christ? This is in no way meant to argue that one of these approaches is right and the other is wrong. But, the most effective way to minister to others, to reach out to a lost world, is to live as Christ lived.

But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. 1 John 2:5-6

Christ lived and walked in the Spirit, all while ministering to the masses. We, unlike Christ, are imperfect (to put it mildly). Many like to use the church as a scapegoat excuse for ignoring a relationship with God; yes, people may see the church as a body of hypocrites. But really, anyone who advocates a perfect standard is a hypocrite, for we are incapable of perfection. I digress; that is a discussion in itself. To put it plainly, we must talk the talk and walk the walk.

Christ did not die so that we would feel good. He died so that we could and would walk and “life a life worthy of the Lord” (Colossians 1:10). I am reminded of a quote I used to love, although I hadn’t thought of it in years.

Is what I’m living for worth Christ dying for?

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:25

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us. Ephesians 5:1-2

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9

My incomplete and inaccurate M.O. left a very diluted impression, if any. Others will not see Christ in the way I live if I am living my life to blend in with the world as best I can (without directly contradicting my beliefs).

It is the difference that sets the world free, the difference of Christ. The difference of the salvation He offers versus the norms of this world. Yes, it is these differences that will terrify the world. Yes, these differences draw criticism. Our faith is “foolishness” to the world (see “And after you have done everything, to stand.”). But ultimately we are no longer of the world. If Truth is light and the world is dark, we are told these two have nothing to do with the other. If there is one thing I have started to experience in my own life it is this: as I really opened my heart to walking with and experiencing God, I came to care less and less about the changes that would occur in my life. I no longer felt like I was being forced to give something up. Changes just happened, sometimes without my full realization or consciousness. (Granted, the majority of my life was in a state of change at the time – moving away from home to college – so changes in lifestyle were in many ways made much easier. It was much easier for me to change the people with whom I surrounded myself, for example.)

Our words must match our actions, and our actions must match our words. We must come out from the world. We are called to be set apart, to be consecrated. This is holiness. This is righteousness. Through the blood of Christ, and through His blood alone, we are holy. We are righteous.

What fellowship can light have with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14

Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. 2 Corinthians 6:17 (see Isaiah 52:11: We are to come out from the world and be pure.)

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the [unsaved] do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Ephesians 4:17-18

You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:20-24

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. Ephesians 5:8-11


2 thoughts on “It’s the Difference that Sets the World Free

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. I too have struggled with how to present myself in view of the world. Be of the world, but not in it. Personally, I cannot live as the world lives, and I no longer wish to do so to a large degree. I think God calls each of us to live according to His plan, and He has a different plan for each of us. I think we are all given different convictions in light of that.

    The statement you made – Is what I’m living for worth Christ dying for? I’ve heard that a few times in the past month, and it challenges me.

    I read something last year that changed my life. “If you take away your attendance from church on Sundays, does your life look any different from the rest of the world?”

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